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If you eat Banku wrapped in rubber then this is an important message for you

If you eat Banku wrapped in rubber then this is an important message for you


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Banku is a popular Ghanaian dish that is prepared by a proportionate mixture of fermented corn and cassava dough in hot water into a smooth, whitish paste. It is a staple food in mostly the southern Ghana sector, mostly among the Ga tribe, Ewe, Fante but also consumed among other regions. It is mostly served with okro stew or soup, pepper sauce with fish, groundnut soup, etc.

The Banku is prepared by mixing (kneading) the corn dough and the cassava dough with water in a steel saucepan into a smooth slurry mixture. The the mixture is then placed on fire and stirred with a wooden spatula gradually in a circular manner till all the water evaporate and driven till it is well cooked into the fine whitish solid Banku.

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It is often dished with small bowl and wrapped in rubbers for storage in food flasks. It can stay for days and weeks if no water gets in touch with it.

There have been many studies and conflicting ideas on the dangers associated with wrapping the Banku in rubbers. While some studies have proven that dishing hot Banku into rubbers is unhealthy and poisonous for the body others believe otherwise. However, the practice is very common as keeping it the rubber help in the preservation for longer periods of time.

Studies has shown that the soft light rubber used in packaging the hot banku for longer periods could be dangerous to consumers.

The polythene bags are made up of carbon compounds which when particularly gets into the stomach after consumption can be dangerous for ones health.

A researcher raised the concern that the use of plastic materials in the packaging of foods pose serious health risk including the wrapping of banku rubbers. According to the the researcher, petrochemical, phthalates, polythene and bisphenol A (BPA) can leach into the banku when hot and daily consumption can be harmful to the body.

The studies further stated that regular leaching of these chemicals through the packaging of hot banku can led to cardiovascular diseases, blockage of veins as the chemicals can slow down the blood flow into the heart and brain which has many detrimental effects on the body.

The controversies are that in some time back when daily graphic contacted the FDA for their response on the dangers of consuming foods package with rubbers, the FDA Principal Regulatory officer disputed the claims. According to him, there is no scientific evidence to back the claims and what the researchers claim is a desktop research.

He added that the rate at which BPA leach into foods was highly dependent on temperature of the food and the temperature at which food come into contact with such plastics in Ghana pose no danger to consumers.

It will interest you to note that whiles the FDA in Ghana is of the view that our temperatures at which food is exposed to BPA is not harmful to the body, other countries have ban the use of these products in food packaging.

There a lot scientific evidence that proves BPA, is a known endocrine disruptor. This means it interferes with hormones work in the body inhibiting their normal function.

A research by confirmed that phthalates and bisphenol A used in soften plastics when they get into our body can affect oestrogen or testosterone and cause problems of the reproductive organ. They added that lab works found low levels of phthalates and BPA in these plastic wraps.

The concern of some reserchers is the temperature at which the hot banku is wrapped can potentially cause leaching of these compounds whether in small quantities or not.

As reserchers believe we need more research work on the actual dangers caused by the these materials, what should the consumer do? As in the cases of banku it is a continuous practice in Ghana.

Other countries have made other suggestions as alternative to the use of some of these plastic with recommendation on chemicals that should not be found them.

Before the beginning of the government of Ghana schools feeding program, caterers were cautioned against the use of plastic in wrapping hot banku for the children.

If that is the case, then one need to take precautions so that by the time the various reaseachers come to a common conclusion, we might have not cause an unrepairable damage to ourselves.

Whiles we continue to enjoy our banku, can we find alternative ways of packaging it and limit the regular use of the rubber wraps.

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